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Metro Transit Ridership

Data updated Aug. 1 with ridership through June

Skip to annual system ridership from 2011-2021

What is the measure?

Ridership on individual trips is measured in multiple ways: fares paid at the farebox, taps of Go-To Cards to readers on board or at stations, and automatic passenger counters on METRO lines. These trip data are aggregated to route, mode, and system level, and reported regularly to the Federal Transit Administration’s National Transit Database.

Here we share one way of counting rides: average weekday ridership. This is the average number of boardings by day, in which weekday (not holiday or reduced) Metro Transit service* was operated, for a given month.

What does this measure tell us?

In general, a boarding is a successful meeting of supply of Metro Transit service with demand for people to make a trip. Ridership can be affected by the amount of service Metro Transit provides, but also the demand that exists for taking trips in general, and for using transit in particular for those trips. During the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning in March 2020, Metro Transit service was reduced slightly, but general travel demand plummeted. Ridership declined significantly as a result, but some modes and routes, notably arterial BRT lines, were more resilient because travel demand remained more constant.

The metric of average weekday trips tells us about the use of Metro Transit services during the busy times of regular travel, whether to and from work or school, or for trips like grocery shopping, medical appointments, and other everyday errands. The different scales of ridership by mode or line can help us understand how many people are using different parts of the system. Perhaps most important, the trend in the average over time can tell us about how regular travel is increasing or decreasing.

* Includes ridership on routes planned and operated or contracted by Metro Transit, as well as Maple Grove Transit routes operated by Metro Transit. Metro Transit ridership does not include rides from other regional providers (U of M, MVTA, SouthWest Transit, Plymouth Metrolink).

Graph showing Metro Transit annual ridership from 2011-2021